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Planters 101

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Planters 101

It is finally Spring! There is so much joy in the early days of a new season, especially in the green industry. One of my favorite parts of warmer weather is that it’s time to plan for our Spring planters! After much trial and error, I have become a lot more confident when it comes to planters, no matter the season. Today, we will be discussing some of the basics.

So first, why use planters?

Planters are a simple way to add an aesthetic touch to any space. From homes to businesses, having seasonal planters demonstrates attention to detail, yet requires minimal care once planted (depending on what you choose to plant).

Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, planters can offer a functional solution for small areas. It is very common for planters to be used to grow veggies or herbs on patios, allowing for easy maintenance and access while still being visually appealing.

When can I display my planters?

A sturdy planter can be used all year long if desired. There is an abundance of options when it comes to plant life, and each season has its superstars (we’ll get into this more below).

What type of planters are best?

My suggestion is that if you know you want your planters to last through the seasons and elements, it would be best to invest in something made from a sturdy material (i.e., cast-iron, terra cotta, fiber-glass). While they can be pricy, they can also often be purchased second-hand for a fraction of the cost.

Planters that are made of something more budget-friendly (i.e., plastic) can work just as well, provided they are kept in a place that is more sheltered from rougher weather conditions. If you are worried about the wind, I would suggest filling your planter with smething heavy like bricks or large stones, followed by a layer of filter fabric, then your soil.

What types of plants are best?

Plants have different growing conditions. Depending on where your planters are located, you’ll want to do some light research to make sure you select something that will grow well, or ask a customer service rep at your local garden center for their help. Here are some of our go-to’s for each season:

  • Spring: bulbs (i.e., daffodils, tulips), icicle pansies, English ivy; accessories: birch, pussy willow
  • Summer: Palms, Cannas, coleus, million bells, dragon wing begonias, creeping Jenny
  • Fall: mums, cabbage, ornamental grasses
  • Winter: white pine, spruce, cedar, Osage oranges; accessories: birch, red dogwood, pine cones, curly willow

There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind before making any decisions.

  • Will these plants attract something that I’d like to keep away from this space? (i.e., bees, squirrels)
  • Will these plants be too much work to maintain? (i.e., petalled flowers vs. simple greenery)
  • Will these plants require more frequent watering that I can give? (i.e., drought-resistant vs. water-absorbing plants)

How do I plan my planter?

Planters can be divided into three sections: thrillers, fillers, and spillers. It’s important not to overthink this; the world is your oyster! Let’s plan a Summer planter together.

  • Start by selecting your thriller (the focal point of the piece)- what will work best for the size, location, and overall look you are working with? I have a large planter that will easily fit a 4 foot palm tree, so I will choose that.
  • Next, select some fillers (exactly what it sounds like). I prefer to cluster my plants, and I like the way that dragon wing begonias compliment palms, so I will choose three of those. I will also select some lime green coleus to add a variety of color and texture.
    • Pause: think ahead- begonias have quite a spread to them once they grow. Don’t worry if your planter looks a bit sparse when it first starts out- it will burst soon enough! If you are wondering how much of a certain plant you’ll need, Google has an abundance of resources to find out the growth patterns of different plants you’re interested in
  • Lastly, select a spiller (something to run over the brim of the planter’s edge and continue to grow downward or outward). I love creeping Jenny- it is versatile and matches perfectly with the other plant selections.

All of the plants listed above have similar growing conditions and require little care, which fits well with my lifestyle and location!

Where should I go for my plants?

Some of our favorite local suppliers are Vermeer’s Garden Centre and Rice Road Greenhouses! Their staff are friendly and their selection is great! If you’re anything like me, I would suggest giving yourself ample time to browse through your options ( 😊 ).

I hope this helps and that you feel a little more prepared to brave your planter dreams this year! Happy planting!


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